Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Beachcombers

Experience transforms The Theoretical to The Actual.

If The Theoretical instills genuine life-threatening fear, people will not seek experiences that could make it manifest into The Actual.

The fear itself may or may not be justified, but, in terms of how it affects the experiences we seek or avoid, it doesn't really matter.

Thrillseekers - whether they're screaming on an amusement park ride or feeling their own elevated heart rate while 'ghost hunting' in a haunted house or - do these things to simulate fear for the body/mind adrenaline rush. The thrillseekers' activities have a beginning, a middle and an end, and, once they're over, everyone fully expects to go back to wherever they came from in the same condition as they started out. That's the paranormal in a nutshell. It's entertainment. A scary movie. A freak show.

Ufology, for the vast majority who explore the subject, is no different. People drawn to it are like children who play all day on the the beach without ever stepping foot in the water because, well, you know, there's an undertow out there, and sharks and barracuda and stinging jellyfish. It never occurs to them they're sharing a beach with predators.

They'll never see living coral or a stealthy flounder half-buried in the sand or the octopus with its tentacles in a conch or darting schools of colorful fish - all just below the surface of the scary, scary water.

The beach bound boy and girl will never be eaten by sharks. Yet, they remain mortal and, as such, will die without ever seeing these things for themselves. Whatever they may see in a digital image will never convey the wonder, excitement and insights emanating from direct experience. Like all captives of their own fear, they prefer the sign to the thing signified, and, in fact, are incapable of recognizing, much less appreciating, the distinction.

We who seek direct experience - seeing and feeling, not through others, but with our own senses - we jump into the water to see what we can find. When we return to shore - changed by the experience - we beckon others to follow. "Come see for yourselves!" But we are condemned, often harshly and cruelly, by all who refuse. Reckless idiots! Liars! Crazies! We endure the accusations and insults and cutting remarks because there will always be those who prefer Not Knowing over Knowing; Arrogance over Humility; Fear over Wonder.

The interested parties who confine themselves to the beach - the boy and the girl too afraid to venture into the water - mature into adults who dutifully study the sand and waves, broken chunks of coral, little seashells and their fragments, and everything dead and dying that washes ashore. They stroke their chins and devise elaborate theories to explain the aberrant psychology of the fools who swim in the dangerous sea and return to share their experiences with people who demand we do neither. And the interested parties make boldly waffling statements about what it all signifies, without ever saying anything at all.

That's what it's like from this side, my friends and adversaries. And it still isn't enough to make me wish I'd stayed on the beach.

Come on in.

The water is awesome.


C.J. Sully said...

Where's my bathing suit???

Arvin Hill said...

No need for one here, C.J.


We're a shameless lot.

C.J. Sully said...

LOL All righty then!

Brizdaz said...

Very good analogy.
Just like the old saying;

"Life is like an analogy."

Starwalker said...

Well said! You might like this quote:

" We cannot work with a mystery from the outside. If we wish to solve a mystery, we must immerse ourselves within that mystery. For only in this way can we map the unknown."

--Theun Mares

Arvin Hill said...

@Brizdaz: Ain't it so. Life is like an analogy. A multilayered maze of analogies, my Brisbane Brutha. Up, down & all around.

@Starwalker: I like that quote very much. It instantly brought to mind of a recent quote by writer, enigmatic adventurer and righteous dude, Bruce Duensing: "Testing reality by proxy is not an option for us. It never was. Our culture has a fantasy about an arms length transaction with reality."